Founded in 2014, Authors Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates for the interests of authors who want to serve the public good by sharing their creations broadly. Our vision and voice are unique among organizations participating in debates about copyright, free expression, fair use, and other public policy issues affecting authors.
Our existence is not guaranteed. We depend heavily on member donations to continue to do this work, and we need your financial support to help secure the future of Authors Alliance.
While several non-profit organizations represent the interests of libraries and of the public at large, Authors Alliance is the only non-profit, membership-based organization that brings a progressive author’s perspective to bear on issues of information policy. We provide an alternative to the protectionist positions of entertainment and big media lobbyists that represent only a limited perspective on the interests of authors.
In the last two years alone, we have:
- Intervened in the Canadian Supreme Court case, Access Copyright v. York University, to advocate for a broad interpretation of fair dealing.
- Successfully petitioned for a new exemption to section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that enables text and data mining research on ebooks and films.
- Filed amicus briefs in five federal lawsuits, supporting authors rights to creative transformative derivative works (Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith), to parody popular brands (MSCHF v. Vans), to exercise their fair use rights at home and abroad (Sicre de Fontbrune v. Wofsy), to reach readers via controlled digital lending by libraries (Hachette v. Internet Archive), and to link and embed images in digital publications (Hunley v. Instagram).
- Helped authors to speak out against publisher John Wiley & Son’s removal of some 1,379 ebooks from library collections, limiting readership and harming students who rely on libraries for access. In response, Wiley restored access.
- Joined other civil society groups to urge Congress to amend the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act to clarify that the bill does not require platforms to pay for the use of headlines and other snippets that fall within fair use.
These are issues that may seem arcane to many, and largely escape public attention. Yet entities with a vested interest in maximalist copyright, often at odds with the public interest, are certainly paying attention, and often claim to speak for all authors when they in fact represent only a small subset.
These positions do a disservice to authors who prioritize seeing their knowledge and creations reach as many readers as possible. Without a countervailing voice, legislators and policy makers can all too easily conclude that maximalist copyright positions promote the best interests of all authors. Authors Alliance provides that countervailing voice. We consistently show up and speak up–through briefs, testimony, regulatory submissions, and other outreach designed to provide a more balanced perspective on how copyright and related policies impact authors in the digital age.
PRIORITIES FOR 2023
We have ambitious goals for 2023 in areas where we believe Authors Alliance can make a big difference. But, we need your help to achieve them. For the coming year, we plan to focus on:
Helping authors to overcome barriers to reaching readers by proactively promoting robust digital markets that serve authors’ interests. Big ideas like “digital ownership” deserve more attention—we want to spur that conversation forward by contributing author perspectives on what’s wrong with the current system of mass licensing and platform lock-in, and how it can be improved. We also want to communicate continued support for libraries by bringing author voices together in court and in the public sphere to explain how libraries serve our interests in providing access to and preservation of our works.
Strengthening authors’ ability to have a say in how their work is disseminated by enhancing authors’ ability to regain and exercise their rights. We hope to reinvigorate a discussion about how the copyright “termination of transfer” system is failing authors, by creating a series of policy papers to share with policy makers. We also aim to more directly support authors in exercising their existing rights by developing a network of resources for them (e.g., pro-bono attorneys) or by directly advising authors on their rights. And, we want to help improve the legal infrastructure that supports authors who want to make their writing and research available on an open access basis.
Protecting authors’ freedom to conduct research by continuing to defend their free expression and fair use rights in court. We also intend to continue to support fair use for text and data mining research by helping support researchers to use the rights they have under fair use and the DMCA, report on where current law is falling short, and petition for an expansion of the current DMCA text and data-mining exemption this coming summer.
Promoting a healthy publishing ecosystem by leveling the playing field in publication contract negotiation by piloting a database of publication contracts with guidance on terms for authors. We also want to address how Authors Alliance can most effectively support efforts to address anticompetitive behavior and platform integrity challenges, including copyright as well as challenges related to misinformation, censorship, and privacy.
SUPPORT AUTHORS ALLIANCE
Authors Alliance has demonstrated that it can have a big impact with a small footprint. We expect our operating budget for 2023 to be approximately $325,000. We rely heavily on individual donors like you to provide support for our core operations. While we have had successes in securing grant funding, those funds cover only a small portion of our operations, and can be difficult to use to support the kind of quick-response policy work that is sometimes needed, such as filing briefs or responding to regulatory Notices of Inquiry. We also believe in lowering barriers to participation, and so Authors Alliance membership has always been free. Even so, a large number of our members give, but mostly through small gifts of $100 or less.
For 2022, our goal is to secure twelve commitments of $10,000 or more, and 100 commitments of $250 or more, to support general operations for the coming year. If you value Authors Alliance, we urge you to join our effort to meet these goals.
To give, you can donate online at https://www.authorsalliance.org/donate or mail your check to:
2705 Webster St. #5805
Berkeley, CA 94705
If you have interest in other ways you can support Authors Alliance, we would be pleased to hear from you. You can reach Dave Hansen, Authors Alliance’s Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.